Ahlstrom Group, Finland

Ahlstrom Group, Finland

February 2004 Filtration Industry Analyst Ahlstrom Group, Finland Clarcor Inc, USA Key Figures (US$ million) Fourth quarter ended 2003 2002 Net ...

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February 2004

Filtration Industry Analyst

Ahlstrom Group, Finland

Clarcor Inc, USA Key Figures (US$ million) Fourth quarter ended

2003

2002

Net Sales

365.9

405.3

Operating Profit/(Loss)

(11.0)

21.8

(4.6)

23.8

Net Profit/(Loss)

Operating Profit Net Profit

30.11.2002

Net Sales Of Which: Engine/Mobile Filtration Industrial/Environmental Filtration

193.4

191.4

74.1

70.5

101.4

102.1

28.4

24.1

16.2

15.0

10.2

7.5

17.6

15.8

2003

2002

1556.4

1778.0

48.5

92.4

Operating Profit Of Which: Engine/Mobile Filtration Industrial/Environmental Filtration

55.2

Net Earnings

Year ended 31.12 Net Sales

29.11.2003

22.4

COMPANY WATCH

Key Figures ( million) Fourth quarter ended 31.12

Year ended

COMMENT Ahlstrom’s business environment remained challenging during 2003. Markets served were characterized by soft demand and continued competition. 2003 was also Ahlstrom’s third successive year of rationalization, with restructuring at underperforming sites in France, Germany, Sweden and Finland. Ahlstrom’s net sales in 2003 were down 12.5% to 1556.4 million, mainly reflecting the divested noncore businesses and the strengthening of the euro against other currencies. Volumes sold increased by 1.8% from the previous year. The group’s 2003 operating profit was 48.5

million, down from 92.4 million a year earlier, resulting from major non-recurring items at the year-end, as well as weak demand in a number of product lines, lower sales prices and currency effects. Filtration materials progressed well during 2003 and recorded 8.3% volume growth. Volume gains were achieved in all market areas, with Asia progressing most. Demand was good throughout the year, although the first half was better than the second half, as shipments slowed down during the final months of the year reflecting general uncertainty of demand as well as customers’ unwillingness to build inventory. ■

29.11.2003

30.11.2002

Net Sales Of Which: Engine/Mobile Filtration Industrial/Environmental Filtration

741.4

715.6

287.8

263.5

386.3

383.6

Operating Profit Of Which: Engine/Mobile Filtration Industrial/Environmental Filtration

87.1

77.8

58.3

52.8

24.2

20.7

Net Earnings

54.6

46.6

COMMENT Fiscal 2003 marked Clarcor’s 11th consecutive year of earnings growth. Fourth quarter earnings were significantly stronger than the company originally expected, due mainly to higher margins in Clarcor’s filtration businesses, particularly in the Industrial/ Environmental segment. For the full year 2003, sales increased by 4% and net earnings by 17% compared with 2002, reflecting internal growth, as there were no acquisitions completed during fiscal 2003. Clarcor expects 2004 to be its 12th straight record

year in both sales and earnings growth, with continued strong cash flow. Product demand for heavy-duty, aerospace and specialty process liquid filters remains good, and HVAC filter sales are stable and the company remains optimistic that they will see an upturn for filtration systems sold into capital goods markets in 2004. CEO Norm Johnson expects the Total Filtration Program to grow in 2004, coming off a slow 2003 caused by lower sales of maintenance filters to automobile and automotive parts manufacturers. ■

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